Virgin Orbit announced today that it has filed for bankruptcy in the US, after the space launch provider was forced last month to reduce its workforce having failed to raise sufficient capital to continue operating.

“The team at Virgin Orbit has developed and brought into operation a new and innovative method of launching satellites into orbit, introducing new technology and managing great challenges and great risks along the way as we proved the system and performed several successful space flights – including successfully launching 33 satellites into their precise orbit,” said Dan Hart, CEO of Virgin Orbit.

“While we have taken great efforts to address our financial position and secure additional financing, we ultimately must do what is best for the business. We believe that the cutting-edge launch technology that this team has created will have wide appeal to buyers as we continue in the process to sell the Company.”

‘Best path forward’

He added: “At this stage, we believe that the Chapter 11 process represents the best path forward to identify and finalise an efficient and value-maximising sale.

“I’m incredibly grateful and proud of every one of our teammates, both for the pioneering spirit of innovation they’ve embodied and for their patience and professionalism as we’ve managed through this difficult time.

“Today my thoughts and concerns are with the many talented teammates and friends now finding their way forward who have been committed to the mission and promise of all that Virgin Orbit represents.

“I am confident of what we have built and hopeful to achieve a transaction that positions our company and our technology for future opportunities and missions.”

Quick sale

To help fund the process and protect its operations, Virgin Orbit has received a commitment from Virgin Investments Limited for $31.6 million in new money DIP financing.

Upon approval from the Bankruptcy Court, the DIP financing is expected to provide Virgin Orbit with the necessary liquidity to continue operating as it furthers the marketing process to sell the company.

Virgin Orbit said it was focused on a swift conclusion to its sale process in order to provide clarity on the future of the company to its customers and employees. Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter